144 votes

YES you can Abstain

Ummmm......misinformation by the other poster. You can abstain, they have had delegates abstain every year for the last 50 years.

The national rules trump all state rules, in addition the delegates at the national convention can vote not to count any delegates that are bound.

The ultimate last word on any rules is the National Convention, if there are enough Paul delegates bound, unbound, stealth etc., to change the rules to forbid bound delegates let's say, then the convention trumps all other rules.

Deal with It Romney hacks

UPDATE: In 1976 bound delegates to Ford could not vote Reagan, they did the next best thing which was abstain.

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They may be able to abstain,

They may be able to abstain, but that could mean that on the next ballot the delegate may be replaced by an alternate who may or may not support Paul


1976 - Reagan lost

Abstaining is akin to throwing in the towel. VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE!! Every time!

They key question seems to be:

are "bound" delegates bound to support a candidate? Voting "present" does not seem to equate to supporting a candidate. So, if delegates are bound to support Romney, it would seem that abstention is violating this.

The next key questions are, "what are the sanctions or punishments for candidates who do abstain" and "can the rules be changed to unbind delegates on the floor of the convention in Tampa?"

2008 Delegate Vote Abstain for Arizona to Crown McCain?

Didn't a bunch of states pas or abstain in order to let Arizona crown McCain at the 2008 RNC? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmqUOCb5E4E

I remember watching that take place just hoping somehow Ron Paul delegates could somehow get things going only to find out they were just letting Arizona have all of the fun.

Some More Examples of Delegates Abstaining

I found a couple examples of delegates abstaining from voting at the Republican National Convention.

The first example took place at the 1912 convention. I found it on page 9 of a PDF that I pulled from the Library of Congress website at http://www.loc.gov/rr/main/republican_conventions.pdf entitled "Republican National Political Conventions 1856-2008". It reads as follow:

"Taft won easily on the first ballot with 556 votes, although 348 delegates present at the convention abstained from voting in protest. Many of those who abstained joined Roosevelt in the new Progressive 'Bull Moose' Party."

The second example comes from a website entitled "The Green Papers" at http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P08/R.phtml, which shows that 20 delegates marked as "not voting".

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Why all of the bickering?

As previously posted by another DP'er:

Response to “A rogue convention? How GOP party rules may surprise in 2012”

SteveMT's picture

4/30/12: This is being discussed now on the AJ program.

Ron Paul delegates (pledged to others) can vote "Present" on the first ballot.

Just like Obama has done in the Senate.

YEP, where are the rules? Do

YEP, where are the rules? Do we have a link? Why is there so much mystery? Maybe we should keep this quiet until the time is right... Lets just keep getting the delegates.. Remember they can afford to pay non-rp delegates and subvert our attempts for a takeover...

a nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat

Thanks PS, DV, lm, and

Thanks PS, DV, lm, and optimystic, for some clarity into this. I think I just might have had an adverse reaction to all of the good news going around -this kind of stuff doesn't happen in real life, normally- figuring something had to be wrong somewhere.

optimystic's picture

1912 GOP Convention - this was a wild one!

from wikipedia:

Party power struggle

This convention marked the beginning of a split in the party, resulting from a power struggle between incumbent Taft and former president Theodore Roosevelt. This was the first year for Republican primaries. Roosevelt overwhelmingly won the primaries — winning 9 out of 12 states (8 by landslide margins). Taft won only the state of Massachusetts (by a small margin); he even lost his home state of Ohio to Roosevelt.

Senator Robert M. La Follette, a reformer, won two states. Through the primaries, Senator LaFollette won a total of 36 delegates; President Taft won 48 delegates; and Roosevelt won 278 delegates.

However 36 states did not hold primaries. Their delegates were chosen by state conventions, which were controlled by party politics, not by the voter. Many of the state delegates were contested.

Taft controlled the Republican National Committee, which had the power to make decisions on contested delegates. They awarded 235 of the contested delegates to Taft and 19 to Roosevelt. As a result, Roosevelt's delegates abstained from voting at his request.
[edit]Detailed results

William Howard Taft — 561 votes
Theodore Roosevelt — 107 votes
Robert La Follette — ~36 votes
Abstained (Roosevelt delegates) — 322 votes

Doesn't abstention equal 'not

Doesn't abstention equal 'not there,' meaning that the total number of delegates counted is less due to delegates abstaining; and therefore it would lower the number of votes Romney needs to win the nomination. While everybody is focused on the number 1144, the truth is that the RULES state that if 1144 is not gotten then the person with 50%+1 vote is the nominee. This is why you will see Rick and Newt official drop out if Dr. Paul doesn't before the convention; because a brokered convention might be theoretically possible with two candidates it is highly unlikely and if Rick and Newt are still technically in the race, then it makes it more likely that there will be a brokered convention.

Total delegates at the convention = 2286, therefore, 50%+1 vote = 1144
if 286 delegates abstain then we have: 2286 - 286 = 2000 delegates, so the 50%+1 = 1001 votes. Therefore by abstaining, they just reduced the number of votes one needs to become the nominee.

Also, do not forget that on the Convention floor they use the RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES and not Robert's Rules of Order, which are used in the committees.

rule 40d from 2008 republican conventuion

( d ) When at the close of a roll call any
candidate for nomination for President of the United
States or Vice President of the United States has
received a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the
, the chairman of the convention shall
declare that the candidate has been nominated.


Not a simple majority of votes cast (which would exclude abstentions), but a majority of the votes entitled to be cast at the convention. That's why 1144 is important.

optimystic's picture

Interesting point

Your quote: "Also, do not forget that on the Convention floor they use the RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES and not Robert's Rules of Order, which are used in the committees." I didn't know this. Do you have a link to help push this discussion?

If true, we might have to use Obama's old trick and vote "present":

"In the United States House of Representatives and many other legislatures, members may vote "present" rather than for or against a bill or resolution, which has the effect of an abstention."


In the GOP 2008 RULES

In the GOP 2008 RULES Adopted


Rules of Order

The Rules of the House of Representatives of
the United States shall be the rules of the convention,
except that the current authorized edition of Robert’s
Rules of Order: Newly Revised (“Robert’s Rules of
Order”), shall be the rules for committees and
subcommittees of the convention, insofar as they are
applicable and not inconsistent with the rules herein set
forth; provided, however, that the convention may
adopt its own rules concerning the reading of
committee reports and resolutions.


House RULES and Manual

House Rules Link

doesn't work - this is such a delicate area, we don't want delegates kicked out.

optimystic's picture

Thanks, Philosopher

This has been a very educational thread for me. We'll have to keep our eye on the 2012 rules committee at the convention.

If these rules hold, our advice may have to change to vote "Present".

I will leave it at that, there are many wiser than myself on this thread!

When they abstain on the house or senate floor

they do not re-adjust the totals needed for passage, it's the same on the convention floor.

The head count is still there, just not voting.

No Absent means you are not

No Absent means you are not not there

Abstinence means the fact or practice of restraining oneself from indulging in something.


use your web browser and go to wikipedia and look and do a search for 2008 republican national convention

You will see a line in the totals that says

"delegates that did not vote" I think there were 14 of them in 2008

these delegates that did not vote ARE the ones that abstained


To arms! To arms! The Redcoats are coming!

optimystic's picture

Not Quite

Abstentions count as part of the quorum in attendance. "No vote" does not count towards the quorum. I got this from a wikipedia article.

Ok, so the abstained votes

Ok, so the abstained votes only count to as part of the quorum, meaning the total number of delegates at the meeting; but as the RNC RULES state that if 1144 votes are not obtained by anybody then the person with 50%+1 vote is the nominee. Only if nobody has the 50%+1 vote does it become a brokered convention. So, I don't see how abstaining helps; it does exactly what I said it would do, and that is, it lowers the total number of votes one needs to be nominated.

the ratio would improve

[Edit: wow, talk about thinking alike... LOL!]

There is still a gap-closing effect, since the percentage of Paul votes rises with every Romney abstention.

Sample voting analysis with tiny voting pool to make point more obvious:

10 Romney
5 Paul

Romney wins with 2/3

5 Romney
5 Paul
5 abstentions

nobody wins... on to the next round

What is begun in anger, ends in shame.

I finished it for you:

0 Romney
5 Paul
10 abstentions

Romney's pants begin to get an awful smell.


think about it

sure it lowers the total count, but it only lowers the count for Romney, thereby lowering his percentage of the total vote. No one is going to abstain for Paul, so his percentage of the total vote will rise as a result of Romney abstentions.

10 total votes.
07 pledged for romney = 70%
03 pledged for Paul = 30%

4 romney abstentions leaves a total of 6 votes
03 for romney
03 for Paul
nobody has 50% +1
second round and paul nomination here we come

it's that simple.

I just hope it works out that

I just hope it works out that way, because we don't actually know how many votes Romney has, nor do we know how many stealth RP delegates we have; so it makes it kind of hard to calculate when every number is an unknown variable. I just want RP to win, and I wouldn't want to do anything that would jeopardize that.

Just a little math

for those that are trying to misinform and give us wrong delegate #'s.

Let's just say, Robamney gets 1350 Bound delegates
(which is really high and won't happen)

And let's say, of those 1350, 1 out of 6 (about 16.6%) of those delegates is one of us and we abstain. Leaving 83.3% for Robamney.
Some of his bound delegate states we've got at least 50% of those delegates. I'm being conservative.

1350 x .833 = 1125.... Whoopsee! looks like he's a little short.

From what I've been tracking on the delegate count Robamney is going to need WELL over 1500 Delegates just to secure 1144, which is NEVER going to happen.

He will also get unbound delegates

Dont forget to account for those unbound delegates that will vote for Romney.

"Know what you know, know what you don't know, and understand and appreciate the distinction."



for informed strategy!

last bump from me



I watched the 2008 RNC roll call, and there were no abstention votes announced. However, there were states whose numbers did not add up. For instance, the chairwoman would announce that a state had X number of delegates but that state would only announce Y number of votes.

Here's the complete video. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/280790-1

It takes a long time to buffer because it's almost 6 hours long. Skip to the 4:29:15 mark and let it buffer from there, that's the beginning of the roll call.

I actually went back a couple minutes from the roll call because shortly after that mark, Texas nominates John McCain for POTUS and it is seconded.

Then John Boehner asks if there are any *other* nominations and you can clearly hear someone yell "RON PAUL" (he wasn't given a microphone like Texas was) and John Boehner says, "The chair hears none." (A-hole)

You can see how it works from watching the video for those that still don't know.

In the 2008 Democratic National Convention, however, there is an abstention vote announced.


Skip to the 14:00 mark, Florida. Again, other states didn't announce abstentions, but the numbers didn't always add up.

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